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July 20, 2019

Could A Selfie Be a Safety Risk?

are selfies harmful

Like it or not, it’s the age of the selfie. While self-portraits are nothing new, at no other time in history have people been so obsessed with their own image. Blame it on technology and perhaps its partnership with social media, but the selfie obsession is here to stay and kids are right in the middle of it. Today the average teen may post more pics on social media in one year than are taken of the average adult through their entire childhood.

The selfie phenomenon has grown up alongside social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. So what’s the big deal? The act of taking a selfie and posting it on a social media site may be harmless in itself, but it’s what can happen with that innocent posting later that should alert parents to the dangers of online picture sharing.

What’s Wrong with Kids Posting Selfies?

Selfies, in theory, are harmless … but what many parents don’t realize is when a kid takes a selfie and posts it online, that selfie can become a tool for online predators.

A very specific danger lies in geotagging. Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification to online pictures, messages, websites and other media. On the upside, it’s a fantastic means to connect with people and share information with followers on social media. It can be used to update friends and family, allowing them to see where a person is and when they arrived.

This type of digital tagging allows users to create memories and store them for the future. Users can tag friends and add their information to the post or message as well. For example, a teen might check in at a school dance and tag their friends too. This information is then stored on a social media site. Geotagging appeals to kids because they can quickly share their location, who they are with and what they are doing with their friends. The problem is that their friends might not be the only audience.

The Darker Side of Geotagging

Geotagging appeals to kids because they can quickly share their location, who they are with and what they are doing with their friends. The problem is that their friends might not be the only audience.

  • Teach kids to control who is able to see location tags on photos
  • Talk openly about the dangers of geotagging
  • Set clear guidelines to never tag from a personal residence
  • Show them how to disable their smartphone’s geotagging feature
  • Stress the importance of limiting the information they share online

Categories: Digital Safety, Tweens/Teen Safety

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